Evidence-Based Programming for Adolescent HIV Prevention and Care: Operational Research to Inform Best Practices

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Abstract

Background:

Globally, a staggering number of adolescents, approximately 2.1 million, were estimated to be living with HIV in 2012. Unique developmental, psychosocial, and environmental considerations make them particularly vulnerable to HIV acquisition and argue for a comprehensive response to address this burgeoning problem.

Methods:

This article explores the current state of the science of HIV prevention, treatment, and care for adolescents and identifies opportunities to address knowledge gaps and improve health outcomes for this age group.

Results:

Over the past decade, several important milestones have been achieved in HIV prevention and care among adults, and despite evidence that adherence to care and medications among affected adolescents is significantly compromised, critical research among adolescents and young adults substantially lags behind. Operational research, in particular, is crucial to understanding how to use effective services and interventions for HIV prevention and care safely and effectively for adolescents who are in dire need.

Conclusions:

Operational research among adolescent populations affected by HIV is critically needed to close the knowledge and investment gaps, and scale-up efforts for HIV prevention, treatment, care, and support for this vulnerable age group.

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